More soups, as promised. Eventually I'll get to making some 'meatier' meals, such as pasta dishes, seitan, tofu, tempheh, etc... For now I'm having fun with beans and veggies.
A week ago, I made this lovely tortilla chip soup.
The recipe called for chili powder, so I was afraid it was going to burn my tongue off. My fears were allayed upon trying my first bite. Mixing cayenne and chili doesn't have to be as frightening as it sounds. The right amount of ingredients definitely added spice to the dish, but just enough to give it a little kick as opposed to ruining the entire meal (lord knows I've done that before).
I just threw together some home made veggie broth, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, tomato paste, cumin, jalepeno peppers (seeded) and chili powder. Once the soup was done simmering, I crumpled up a bunch of un-salted, organic tortilla chips (the fun part) and garnished with a slice of avocado. The avocado, in my opinion, should serve to be more than a garnish; it was so delicious, my step father was going back for more to toss in his soup!
Last night I made veggie borscht. For those of you who are new to the cooking world or just don't cook at all but enjoy my blog- you know who you are- here is a definition of borscht from wikipedia: Borscht is a vegetable soup from Eastern Europe, which is traditionally cooked including beetroot as a main ingredient which gives it a strong red color. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and the green borscht (sorrel soup).
My usual taste testers were afraid to try it for different reasons, but thankfully they were both pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I must admit, I was a little skeptical as well. Raw beets smell and taste like... dirt. So I didn't know how this would be. Not to fear! Sauteeing the vegetable in olive oil and simmering with the perfect blend of spices made the soup flavourful and nummy.
Isn't it so colorful? I grabbed the green-rimmed bowl, not realizing how Christmas-y it looked.
Again, I used home made broth- it really make the difference, I'm tellin' ya! Throw together a small red onion, lots of garlic, 2 large carrots, 4 beets, 1 cup cabbage, 1 cup spinach, 1 can of diced tomatoes, pepper and horseradish mustard to taste. Mmm mmm mmm... It was suggested that the soup was served with a side dish of biscuits and tofu sour cream, but I was too tired by the time I got this soup on the stove. I'll have to try that with the next soup (chive butternut).
More work/road lunchables! Okay, this picture may not look that appealing, but I can assure you that it is quite a delicious dish. The original name is lentil and black bean salad, but I think I'll have to call my version 'Lentil and Black Bean Mash'. I cooked the lentils for a tad too long and you know they get rather mushy if you just look at them for too long.
I normally can't eat too much bean salad or I'll just get sick of it. However, the right dressing combination can make your bean salad taste amazing. For this dressing, I used olive oil, flax oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, cumin, garlic, salt, black pepper and a tiny bit of organic cane sugar.
I think I would like this meal best in a wrap or made into burgers.
Chickpea salad is also a great 'take to work' dish.
It's very simple and light. With home made dressing, you'll feel very healthy and skinny after eating it.
I like to pretend that I'm on a tropical island when it's really 40 degrees outside. It keeps the spirits up! To help get me into that state of mind, I made a citrus smoothie- simply mix together juice from a lime (limes are so little and cute!), 1 cup of orange juice, 1 frozen banana, a tbsp of maple syrup (the real stuff) and 1/2 cup of silken tofu for texture.
Then, to make it REAL fun, you drain and chop up a coconut and use the shell as a cup!
I have to say that I was very surprised to find whole coconuts NOT at Whole Foods, but at Shaws. Shaws! I had given up on the idea of using a coconut as a drinking cup until I happened to walk by a bunch at the supermarket. I couldn't tell you how excited I was to see those fuzzy creatures!
I owe it to Mike for draining, cutting and sanding these fruits. The cups are un-even, due to the fact that it's tough to get a perfect cut without the right tools, but he did a great job.
I think I might start collecting coconut shells and throw a big, tropical party in the summer when I get my new place. With the little umbrellas, people can feel like they are really by the beach, burying their toes in pink sand, shaded by palm trees and feeling the ocean breeze tickling their skin.
Or maybe they'll just feel like they're sitting in an apartment in New England sipping out of a coconut shell.